Free Prime Kick the Bucket and Swing the Cat: The Complete Balderdash & Piffle Collection of English Words, and Their Curious OriginsAuthor Alexander Games –

Kick the Bucket and Swing the Cat takes a humorous tour through the fascinating, sometimes tragic, and often surprising history of the English language and its etymology Author, humorist and word sleuth Alex Games uncovers the trends, innovations and scandals that have shaped the meanings of our most popular words and expressions, from Chaucer to Internet jargon and Ancient Greek to American slang Who was the original Jack the Lad, Gordon Bennett or Bloody Mary Where do dodgy geezers and hooligans come from What are skeldering, dithering and sabre rattling This amusing but rigorously researched account of English words and their origins combines the findings of the major BBC TV series and the nationwide Wordhunt, and is an entertaining treasure trove for English language lovers everywhere

6 thoughts on “Kick the Bucket and Swing the Cat: The Complete Balderdash & Piffle Collection of English Words, and Their Curious Origins

  1. Music Lover Music Lover says:

    A amazing bool of trivia

  2. Mr M P Sloan Mr M P Sloan says:

    Found it a great read, just hope I do not bore my friends with , ah, do you know where that word comes from Also a good book if you enjoy history.

  3. M. Bland M. Bland says:

    I had to buy copies of this for my relatives as I could not part with my own The history of our language is fascinating, I just had to share it with fellow pedants.

  4. M. L. McGrath M. L. McGrath says:

    This was a gift for a family member so although I have not personally read it they are delighted with it

  5. Ralph Blumenau Ralph Blumenau says:

    This book seems to have two purposes The first is to explain the origins of a word or phrase, and these are often but by no means always surprising as their spelling or meaning changes over time.The second, when the origin is pretty obvious, is to try to track down the first time a word or phrase appeared in written form This of course doesn t mean that the word may not have been used in speech long before that over and over again I was surprised, seeming to have known a word from my youth I will be ninety this year , how recent the first appearance in print of some expressions is Tracking down the first written appearance is of interest to the compilers of some dictionaries, but, I would have thought, is not particularly interesting to many readers But there I am obviously wrong The book is based on two television series in 2006 and 2007 called Balderdash and Piffle , in which viewers were asked whether they could find earlier examples than those so far given in the big Oxford English Dictionary to certain words Some 6,000 emails were sent in As a result the editors of the OED revised 79 of its entries, and the epilogue of this book is about these.The text is sometimes jocose and itself playing on words.The first chapter of Part One shows how the English language adapted and often later altered words from the various peoples Angles, Vikings, Normans who invaded Britain then it goes on to show the contribution made by Chaucer.The second and third chapter go into details about the compilation of dictionaries, from Dr Johnson s to the online Oxford English dictionary The fourth chapter tells us what modern English owes to the Bible and to Shakespeare.So far there is little that will be new to people interested in the subject, though there are of course some examples which will be new to many readers I was particularly intrigued by the origins of the word window Chapter Five deals with local English dialects not all that familiar, I would guess , including the expressions brought in by the ethnic communities and Chapter Six with words borrowed mostly from non European countries Words derived from Arabic often underwent the strangest convolutions admiral is a striking example The age of imperialism brought many other words You would think that Blighty for home, or Britain would be a true English word, but it is a corruption of an Indian word for foreigner.Chapter Seven deals with metaphors obviously taken from various sports Those taken from music are equally obvious except, perhaps, fit as a fiddle which refers not to a fiddle but to a dancing fiddler Other mostly obvious metaphors come from the theatre, but there is one two steal one s thunder which comes from a theatrical anecdote and one old chestnut which comes from a line in a play of 1816, now long forgotten.Chapter Eight deals with words coming from science, inventions and inventors, warfare and computers, which are now used outside their original sphere.Chapter Nine goes to town on the history of swear words blasphemous, excretory, sexual , rude words denoting bodily parts, and racist words.Chapter Ten is about onomatopoeic words and Part One ends with a chapter on words that were fashionable in a particular decade from the 1920s onwards, and with a chapter on words whose origins are so far unknown though actually such words or phrases are scattered throughout the book.Most of the entries in Part Two are single words which might just as well have figured in Part One Chapter Thirteen discusses the various ways of describing people who are mad , but there is no satisfactory explanation for off one s trolley , losing your marbles , a basket case all Games can do is to find out when these expressions were first recorded in the case of cloud cuckoo land all the way back to Aristophanes Chapter Fourteen deals with items of clothing you might be surprised to what the heels in well heeled originally referred, or that pants are connected to a 4th century Venetian saint.Chapter Fifteen deals with words referring to a person, like Bloody Mary , Bob s your Uncle , or Hobson s Choice This last one is connected to a particular individual, but attributions in several other cases are undocumented guess work.Chapter Sixteen is devoted to words and phrases relating to dogs the OED devotes no fewer than twenty two pages to them One or two surprises there Chapter Seventeen deals with words relating to criminal or sub criminal behaviour, and Chapter Eighteen with words of insult.Chapter Nineteen is about euphemisms, mainly, of course, for bodily functions, for sexual activity and for death Incidentally, while there are ingenious but unproven origins for kicking the bucket , I can find nothing in the book about swinging the cat , and had to go to Google for it Having written with some relish throughout about matters sexual, Games in his Introduction rather archly recommends parental control for the chapter called X rated , tucked away discreetly at the end of the book.If this review seems a little over long, that was also my feeling about the book itself.

  6. 書斎 書斎 says:

    1 spend a penny spend a penny kick the bucket 0800 zyxt 0800 zyxt OED OED p.111 This popular volume COD has since passed through two editions and reached its eleventh printing 2 11 COD OED 10 NODE The New Oxford English Dictionary NODE The Oxford English Dictionary ODE 3 pass through two editions COD 12